Stephanie & Markelle Ballard | Visions Transportation

Tell us a little bit about Visions Transportation:

Visions Transportation is a luxury black car service, serving Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana areas. We currently own 10 vehicles — a mix of black cars, SUVs, sedans, transits, and shuttles. We have 8 employees in addition to ourselves, and provide services for all luxury transportation needs.

Additionally, we operate Vision Door 2 Door School Transportation. We currently service 5 school districts within the south suburban area.

Stephanie & Markelle Ballard Spotlight Series

What do you wish more people knew about the business?

I (Stephanie) was a social worker prior to dedicating myself to Visions, and my previous work has informed our business approach today. We are proud to serve in our community. Our team has been hand-picked, and in addition to their professionalism, safety, and dependability within our black car luxury client services, they have the heart and the passion for working with the student, church, and senior communities.

The experience our staff offers during student rides to and from school sets the tone for the students’ days and evenings. Our team is dedicated to providing a clean, peaceful, and positive atmosphere, allowing students the opportunity to reset their dial in a safe space, with accountability. We also provide sensory toys and tablets to enhance their rides. Our drivers are all CPI- and CPR-trained, while remaining compliant in various certifications.

How did you, personally, end up in the transportation industry?

My husband Markelle and I began driving for Uber in 2015 when our youngest son was attending college completing his Master's degree. This allowed us to assist in covering the costs. We eventually transitioned into Uber Black. I would work in the morning, return home, and then Markelle would work the night shift. Due to the unprofessionalism we witnessed within the Uber platform, we conversed several times on enlarging our territory within the luxury black car industry.

Then in December 2017, our pastor shared a dream with Markelle, stating that he had dreamed Markelle was dressed as a chauffeur. He wasn’t sure whether Markelle owned his own company, or was working for someone else in the dream. Two days later we were approached by a financial group that knew nothing about the dream that was given. But they took a chance and provided funding for our first vehicle. By February 28, 2018, Visions Transportation LLC was incorporated, with our vehicle on the road. Our first reservation as Visions Transportation was March 3, 2018, to Mr. and Mrs. Victor Crook.

What has been your experience as an ILLBA member?

Visions has been an ILLBA member since 2019, and the support has been phenomenal. We’re grateful to have this community of likeminded people who can share ideas, thoughts, and their successes, with many learning opportunities. Paula has been an amazing resource for networking, and she’s a wealth of knowledge. Especially during the pandemic, the ILLBA and its members offered hope, structure, and pivoting points to remain afloat.

How are you spending your time outside of the business?

We spend a lot of time with our family and friends, attending church, traveling, sporting events. Our favorite is being on a cruise ship for at least 7 days. We will do less sometimes if the need arises for a quick getaway with parents or grandkids. The peace of the ocean is something we continue to return to again and again. We also enjoy cooking at home: I am the grill master, and Markelle is the sous chef. And we are huge fans of all Chicago sports teams. Every season we travel to a new city to see The Bears play. 

Any predictions, hopes, or ambitions for the future of our industry?

Community is everything. Our industry will be stronger the more we focus on trust, effective communication, connection, and moving forward collectively in pursuit of shared identities and goals. The politics don’t really interest us and we have no desire to entertain it. We are looking at the potential for growth through unity.

Visions Transportation

You can reach Stephanie and Markelle at [email protected], +1 800 610 4902, or on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Visions Transportation on their website and connect with them on Facebook.

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